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Iowa Medical Society brings statewide advocacy efforts to Burlington

Focus is Iowa’s physician shortage crisis


For Immediate Release: March 4, 2024


DES MOINES, IA – Iowa is currently facing a physician crisis like never before. Iowa is ranked 45th in the nation for patient to physician ratios per 100,000 population. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, in 2021 there was a shortage of about 46,000 doctors in the U.S. By 2034, that number is expected to climb as high as 124,000; up to 48,000 of these will be primary care physicians.

This creates significant challenges to providing quality healthcare for patients, large amounts of stress, and greater workloads resulting in burnout. To listen, gather insights, and address the physician shortage crisis and other state healthcare priorities, the Iowa Medical Society (IMS) will be in Burlington for a series of meetings with members, non-members, and the community on Tuesday, March 26.

“The support and involvement of communities like Burlington are vital to progress. Together with our great universities and healthcare partners, we can come up with real solutions to this alarming workforce crisis,” said Jessica Zuzga-Reed, DO and IMS President. “Iowans, in all corners of the state, deserve access to quality healthcare — we are in jeopardy of losing that right now.”

Addressing the crisis

On behalf of more than 6,000 Iowa physicians, residents and medical students, IMS is leading a statewide effort to expand the physician workforce. To aid in the recruitment and retention of physicians, IMS supports:

  • An increase from $2.5 million to $ 4 million for full funding of the Rural Physician Loan Repayment Program.
  • Policy efforts to implement the Iowa Rural Healthcare Workforce Strategic Action Plan.
  • An increase in funding for additional positions within existing residency and fellowship programs.
  • Seeking opportunities for new residency and fellowship programs for Iowa’s most in-need specialties.
  • Pursuing tax credit incentives for preceptors and new physicians beginning their practice in Iowa.

In 2023, Iowa had a 75% adequacy rate for healthcare workforce supply versus demand. This rate is estimated to fall to 71% in 2036 based on projections made by the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration. Indicative of the crisis in Iowa, this data exemplifies why IMS is so dedicated to alleviating the issue.

In partnership with the Iowa Pharmacy Association, Iowa Hospital Association, and the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services, IMS will host two workforce town halls at the Burlington Public Library.

Workforce Town Halls

  • Tuesday, March 26 – 10 a.m. or 1 p.m.
  • Burlington Public Library
    • 210 Court Street
    • Burlington, IA 52601

Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, direct care workers, public health personnel, all healthcare professionals, as well as administrators, community organizations, local business, patients and families, and community members are all invited to join one of the town hall meetings to discuss healthcare workforce issues and how the community can work together to solve them.

About us

The Iowa Medical Society, established in 1850, is the largest and oldest, statewide professional association for allopathic (MD) and osteopathic (DO) physicians, representing more than 6,000 members. We work to advance the practice of medicine through advocacy, education, and engagement with physicians throughout Iowa to ensure the highest quality of care for the patients they serve.


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